Family Resources on Ride Along

Lesson Topic

Students will discuss equity and how to build trust between members of the public and police officers

Essential Question

How can we promote safety between police officers and people of historically marginalized groups?

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Ride Along – Darion

If this lesson was used in the classroom: Students considered issues of developing trust between the public and police officers. In class students discussed various issues surrounding policing and the public image of police officers. In small groups students placed themselves in the same situation as the video, a teenager interviewing a police officer during a ride along with a police officer.

Getting Ready for the Conversation

The video for this module features Darion, a high school student who has concerns about how adolescents of color are viewed by law enforcement in his neighborhood, so he joins a police officer for a ride along. Students discussed various issues that were brought up and how Darion gains a better understanding of the work that police officers face.

Conversation notes:
Because of high-profile cases where police officers violated the rights of citizens, particularly people of color, it may be difficult to have nuanced discussions about the role of law enforcement officers in communities and society. While everyone needs to be able to trust police officers, there are real reasons why some communities lack this trust.

Clarence Edwards article about racial issues and police from the National Policing Institute:

Greater Good article by Tracie Keesee on implicit bias in policing:

Leila Morsy and Richard Rothstein article “How does our discriminatory criminal justice system affect children?” on the Economic Policy Institute blog:

Constructive Conversation Starters

The first item is for follow-up after viewing the lesson video and participating in class activities.

What do you think Darion learned from his ride along? Do you think he looks at police officers differently? Why do you think so?

Do most of the people in our neighborhood or community trust our local police officers? Why or why not?

Even if there are high levels of trust between police officers and people in your neighborhood, that is not always the case everywhere. What are some ideas for improving trust between police officers and people in communities? Why would these ideas work?

What do you think is the hardest part (or some of the hardest parts) of the job for a police officer? Why do you think so?

School to Home Resources on Ride Along

Lesson Plan

Your eyes on me

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Darion says, “If you’re walking down a street and a police officer sees you, then he’s going to keep his eye on you… now you have your eye on me because I don’t look like you”. What do you think causes Darion’s to say this? Why do you think this is an important issue for him?

Change is needed

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Darion says, “The relationship between law enforcement and people of color needs to change”. This is a common problem in many communities. Whether or not this is a problem in your community, what are some steps you would suggest to improve this issue? Why do you think your ideas would be effective?

A surprising choice

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When Darion asked Officer Fenderson about his career choice, he replied, “Man I didn’t grow up wanting to be the police!”. What can you learn about the importance of public service from Officer Fenderson’s response? Why is it important for someone from a traditionally marginalized community to become a police officer? What values do you consider important as you think about your future career goals? Why are these values important to you?

Police officers in the community

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As their conversation continues, Officer Fenderson says, “Police are human beings”. He discusses several issues about police-community interactions before and after this comment. What issues does he address that you think people need to consider thoroughly? What actions do you feel are needed to improve trust between police officers and all communities? Why would these actions be effective?

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